What is The Best Hotel Rewards Program?


That is quite a question, isn’t it? I have received quite a few emails this year asking this very same question and I totally understand why.


Getting a status and maintaining it with any of the hotel programs (or number of) is laborious process and you may sometimes think that the grass is greener on the other side.

Here’s what I have decided to do.

For the next five days, I will write an article per day about the positives and negatives of each of the major five hotel programs; Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Priority Club/(Royal) Ambassador program.

Then, I will tell you what my personal preference is based on my stay and redemption patterns. You may or may not agree with me.


Check back tomorrow for my take on Hilton HHonors.

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  • Tom

    What about Accor? Or are they not relevant to your particular travels?

    • They are relevant but the program is not comparable to these five that I am going to concentrate on.

      The main difference is that with Accor you basically get vouchers that you can use towards the room rate that you book online. There is very litte to “game” compared to these five chains that issue you points that you then use for “free”nights regardless of the rate.

      Accor’s program is more like getting certain percentage points of the room rate back in vouchers.

      • Tom

        Ah yes that makes sense. I generally stay with Accor or ICH, as they best suit my travels. Look forward to the posts.

  • Henrik Johansson

    Excellent. I look forward to the articles.

  • happyflorida

    Can you include where the avg price per night plays a role? At one time I became gung ho about SPG (recommended by the girl sitting next to me at the Delta club), but as I started to compare price per night over the next few trips, it was always higher to Hilton/Marriot…Normally $120 p/night is pushing a red flag with my company…unless international or high dollar areas.

  • andrewleen

    Hi John, I would also suggest when you finish this series, you may put them altogether under a new tab “Major Hotel Programs” so that we will have a place to discuss general questions on each of the 5 major chains. You might also consider discussing how to earn points within each chain by holding a meeting, reception, wedding etc instead of hotel stays.

  • cecconello

    When is the continuation of articles about hotel programs?

  • Franco Cartolano

    Hello John, what a nice Conrad Koh Samui picture! Congrats for your blog. Ciao. Franco